Matthew Amengual

Matthew Amengual

Associate Professor in International Business

Saïd Business School University of Oxford Park End Street Oxford OX1 1HP


Matthew Amengual is an Associate Professor of International Business.

His work explores the politics of promoting economic development that is both equitable and sustainable. His research focuses on the political economy of regulation, Latin American politics, and global labour standards.

Matthew's work focuses on the interactions between firms, government bureaucracies, and societal organisations in countries with weak institutions. His first book, Politicized Enforcement in Argentina: Labor and Environmental Regulation (Cambridge University Press), asks the question: Why do states enforce regulations in some places, and in some industries, but not in others? It develops a framework for analysing enforcement in middle-income and developing countries, showing how informal linkages between state officials and groups within society allow officials to gain the operational resources and political support necessary for enforcement.

He is currently writing about the contestation between societal actors and firms engaged in large-scale mining operations in Latin America. This project develops a theory of direct contestation – unmediated demands by societal actors on firms for redistribution and regulation – as a form of regulating economic activity that is distinct from traditional state-centred institutions. Empirically, Matthew develops case studies of mines in Bolivia and Peru, drawing on semi-structured interviews and household surveys. Beyond its theoretical contribution, this work will inform strategies employed by various actors to make extractives more likely to foster inclusive local development. 

Matthew also has an active research agenda on the ways in which labour standards are enforced in global supply chains. He is currently studying how lead firms integrate sourcing and labour compliance when structuring their relationships with suppliers. This research builds on previous work he conducted on developing country firm preferences for labour regulation and the interactions between international and state labour regulation. 

His research has been published in World Development, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Regulation & Governance, Politics & Society, and Desarrollo Económico. He is currently an Associate Editor at the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. Prior to joining the Saïd Business School, Matthew was an Associate Professor of Work and Organization Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Matthew received his AB in environmental studies from Brown University, and his Master’s in city planning and PhD in political science, both from MIT.



Matthew's research focuses on two strands: global labour standards and the political economy of direct contestation.

Global Labour Standards

Matthew has studied enforcement of labour standards for the past decade. His book, Politicized Enforcement in Argentina: Labor and Environmental Regulation, published with Cambridge University Press, constructs a theory to explain why states enforce standards in some industries and places, but not others. He has also studied firm preferences for labour regulation and how transnational regulation influences domestic regulatory institutions. He is currently conducting research on private regulatory standards that operate through global supply chains. 

Political Economy of Direct Contestation

Matthew is currently writing a book on direct contestation that is characterised by societal demands for redistribution and regulation on firms that are largely unmediated by state institutions. This work focuses on mining projects in Bolivia and Peru. Matthew combines household survey data with interviews with the managers, community leaders, and state officials to develop detailed accounts of evolving interactions between firms and societal actors. The analysis reveals sharp variation in the outcomes that result from direct contestation, which sometimes leads to clientelism and other times results in public goods provision and inclusive distribution. The book develops a theory to explain this variation that hinges on the interaction between social structures and firm strategies for mitigating risk. 


Matthew regularly collaborates with international organisations, NGOs, governments, and firms on research projects. 

He recently completed a study with the International Labour Organisation's Better Work Programme on ways in which international efforts to improve labour standards can reinforce state regulation. Matthew is an active member of the academic community of scholars who study comparative political economy, labour relations, and the politics of Latin America. He is an Associate Editor of the leading labour journal, the Industrial and Labor Relations Review. In addition, he is a co-organizer of the Globalization and Socio-Economic Development at SASE and a co-organizer of the Energy, Commodities and Development section of the Latin American Studies Association. He was part of the local organizing committee of the meetings of the Latin American Political Economy Research Network (REPAL) in 2016, and on the best paper award committee in 2017. 


Matthew currently teaches an elective on global sustainable business.

This class focuses on how businesses can compete while contributing to improvements in global environmental quality and social inclusion. In addition, he teaches in the Diploma in Global Business programme and contributes expertise on international business to the teaching team for the core MBA Strategy course.

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